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Genesee County Land Bank official resigns, used racial slur to describe Flint residents

Jun 5, 2017

A Genesee County Land Bank official resigned today, a day after a tape surfaced of him using a racial epithet to describe Flint residents.

Before 9 a.m., a small crowd chanted in front of the Genesee County Land Bank office, calling for Sales Manager Phil Stair’s resignation.     

Stair’s resignation was announced a short time later.

Environmental activist Chelsea Lyons posted a recording of Stair using a racial slur to blame African-American residents of Flint who didn’t pay their water bills as a reason for the city’s water crisis.

On the audio recording, Stair can be heard saying “n*ggers don't pay their bills.”

“I had no idea that he was going to say the things that he said. That was not exactly the thing I was going for,” says Lyons, who says she has concerns about Land Bank policy. 

Lyons recorded Stair over two days last week, including stops at local bars in Flint.  

“[Stair] didn’t appear to be drunk.  He was drinking, though he didn’t appear to be inebriated in anyway,” says Lyons, who’s part of a group of environmental activists who have been campaigning in Flint.

The head of the Genesee County Land Bank accepted Stair’s resignation today.

Michele Wildman apologized for Stair’s remarks at the Genesee County Board of Commissioners meeting.

“We are outraged by the offensive statements and committed to taking all steps necessary to rebuild public trust,” says Wildman.